Rural Entrepreneurship, Digitalization and Regional Inequality

Although entrepreneurship is primarily considered an urban event, however, entrepreneurial activities also occur in rural and less populated areas. Empirical evidence on rural entrepreneurship across countries and regions is nonetheless still scarce and not much is known about the context factors steering entrepreneurship in such areas. Digitalization as one driver of current transformation processes has the potential to change the relevance of entrepreneurial context factors in favour of non-urban regions. As many entrepreneurs are home-workers and highly skilled, digital competent young family-prone people increasingly intend to live in non-urban, environmentally attractive, less crime-affected, and much cheaper places, this may alter the traditional urban-rural disparities. One crucial prerequisite, however, is the digital infrastructure, which is still better in urban than in rural areas. Thus, it remains an open question whether the combined effects of digitalization and (increased?) rural entrepreneurship will reduce or even increase interregional economic disparities.

There is a long-standing tradition in the study of regional entrepreneurship, also in terms of presentations and sessions at the previous five GCEGs. However, rural entrepreneurship and its relation to digitalization have largely been ignored. This session seeks to address scholars working in the fields of regional entrepreneurship and regional-economic implications of digitalization. We are looking for theoretical, empirical and/or policy papers that address the relationship between rural entrepreneurship, digitalization, and inter-regional disparities.